BILL BLOG Tuesday December 12, 2017
Once again...on air for 650 AM WSM from 5:30-10AM this morning with Charlie Mattos and I'll be doing this all week.
Tune in worldwide at wsmonline.com and watch if you have a strong heart on Heartland TV.
Have a great Tuesday!
BILL BLOG Monday December 11, 2017
No blog this week...or at least no regular blog as I'm on air all week 5:30-10 AM filling in for Bill Cody on the radio home of the Grand Ole Opry 650 AM WSM.
Tune in worldwide at wsmonline.com an watch the show on Heartland TV.
At 8:30 this morning Tamara Stewart my talented Aussie singer-songwriter friend will join us for some "live" music from her upcoming CD.
Have a great Monday!
BILL BLOG Friday December 8, 2017
38 for a high today. Yikes. It's usually about this time of year weather guy reminds you to cover up your plants. Which is why I'm glad we asphalted the lawn and beds this year. No plants.
YESTERDAY It's not every day there's a pole in the middle of the room I'm writing in...but there is when I write with Jenny Tolman. She and her boyfriend producer Dave Brainerd actually put up a You Tube Video of Jenny singing "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" decorating their place and of course they do put a sign on it that says "North Pole". Of course. Yes...she does pole dance...in one of those exercise classes and she's done that silk scarf dangling thing like one would see at a Cirque Show...if you've ever been to one of those.
And guess what crept into our song yesterday? Uh uh. The silk scarf and Cirque. So it was a really fun creative out of the box puzzle that we strung together yesterday. She will release a new single to radio in early January and her album that she and Dave produced will be released late next year.
IN VOGUE FOR MEN Well...they say "botox" for guys is big right now. So ladies...there's your guy gift giving idea this year. A little needle in the forehead for your dear ole boyfriend-hubby. Nothing says Christmas like a botox treatment. And yea...I'm pretty sure there MUST be a Christmas song of some kind that could deal with this.
KIDS The lastest equations say it wlll cost you around $233,000 to raise a kid to the age of 17. Figure in college and the medical bills it cost to have that yougun' and it could give one pause before hatching a large family. You didn't say "triplets" did you Doc?!
TODAY Early this afternoon I'm writing with young Taylon Hope for the first time...a young North Carolina girl I believe. She and her parents came out to see our "Hits & Grins" trio last night and the Dad is a big fan of WSM and knew I worked there which led to more conversation and this writing appointment with his daughter today on Music Row. It's always fun for me to write with new young talent so I'm looking forward to getting to know Taylon better. And oh yea...she can sing. Here's one EXAMPLE you can check out if you'd like.
THE WEEKEND Have I mentioned I have not done a bit of Christmas shopping yet? Sigh. Wonder what a botox coupon costs? I'll be doing some of that for sure and ten prepping for a really busy week next week as I'm on the WSM morning dark and early Monday through Friday. Because of that...there will just be very short blogs here because of time constraints.
Hope you have a great weekend too!
BILL BLOG Thursday December 7, 2017
A day that will live in infamy. Pearl Harbor Day. Every time this day rolls around my thoughts go back to the one trip my wife and I made to Hawaii and visited the Pearl Harbor museum. Something everyone should do...stand over the Arizona. My lasting memory of that was how many Japanese tourists were on the boat with us...and how they bowed their heads and were reverentially as quiet as the Americans were. We look at history to help us avoid repeating the same awful mistakes. Here's hoping we do just that.
YESTERDAY My writing appointment was with Gary Cavanaugh who truly loves writing. It's good being around folks like that who remind me that it's just the process of creating something original that's enough for most folks. Or...getting to sit on a stool every now and then and share an original song with some folks out front. It's hard writing a hit. There are a lot of talented folks in this town trying to do just that and the competition is fierce. But for some...just participating? It's enough...and it gives them a reason to get up in the morning and there's not a thing wrong with that. Plus...ya just never know...ya never know. Gary brought a great idea to the table and it was fun shaping that idea into a song with him.
HEARD AT MY STARBUCKS THIS MORNING With my head down in my iPad I still did not hearing a barista say to a customer, "it looks like Christmas threw up all over his house". Made me laugh. Somewhere close by there's a Clark Griswold house all lit up I suppose. I'm pretty sure I've never strung one light on our house. Nope. Not fond of nail guns and ladder and cold icy roof tops and gutters. Nope. Wreath on the front door and I'm good to go Santa. You'll need to turn on you sleigh lights to find my roof.
THAT ELF Parents are hiding that danged elf all over the house. Elf on the Shelf is still hot. Man. I'm starting a new tradition called "Beer On The Shelf" but I'm having trouble convincing my wife to hide a beer in a new location every night. This could get me on Shark Tank.
WSM A reminder again...I'll on every morning next week Monday through Friday with Charlie Mattos on the radio home of the Grand Ole Opry 650 AM WSM as Bill Cody...the regular host gets some Christmas shopping done. We're already booking some musical guests so it should be a very fun week. Tune in worldwide at wsmonline.com
TODAY Off to write with one of my favorites Jenny Tolman this morning. A rarity. A country artist who was actually born in Nashville. I won't hold that against her. Jenny is young, talented and I like her because she does like to think outside the box. Fun and quirky work for her like it does me so maybe we'll write about "Beer On The Shelf" today. Maybe.
Have a great Thursday!
BILL BLOG Wednesday December 6, 2017
First hump day in December...and a chilly one at that with 48 being the high in Music City today. Doctors are warning of a goosebump outbreak soon.
YESTERDAY I spent some time on Music Row yesterday rhyming with Paul Bogart and Gerald Smith...and we wound up writing a very fun Christmas song that we are later going to convert into a non-Christmas song too if that makes sense. Gerald brought a very fun Christmas melody with him...and I had this funny title stowed away that fit perfectly into the melody scheme. Always fun to sit in a room with a couple of other folks and hear laughter as a song is being constructed. Not a bad way to spend a few hours on a cloudy Tuesday for sure.
MORE RHYMING My writing assignment for my folks yesterday in New York also had to do with Christmas as they needed a Christmas Office Party song. So we took the Sam Hunt hit "House Party" and converted that into "Office Party". One of those cautionary reminder songs about not drinking too much at the company party unless you want to find yourself looking for another office job in 2018. A reminder...do not sit on the scanner and send copies of that to anyone. Nobody need to be seeing that.
WSM I got word yesterday that I'll be doing the morning show ALL week next week on 650 AM WSM as the regular host Bill Cody is going to take the entire week off. So...I'll be up early working with Charlie Mattos on air which is always fun too. So...listen in some next week if you can. The show is on 5:30-10 AM and is heard worldwide at wsmonline.com...AND...if you get Heartland TV...you can actually watch two grown men drinking large amounts of coffee while doing that "radio" thang. I'm sure we'll have some special guests dropping into our studio next week inside the Opryland Hotel. I'll share the guest list here soon as I get it.
TODAY Off to write with Gary Cavanaugh...a transplanted ex teacher from Colorado who's spending the back end of his life writing songs...mostly for the fun of it. Works for me.
Have a great Wednesday!
BILL BLOG Tuesday December 5, 2017
It's raining outside my window this morning...and the weather dude is saying a cold snap is coming for most of the country. I'm already ready for Opening Day baseball.
YESTERDAY I had my head down in my computer a good part of Monday as I had stuff to write for New York and I worked on finishing up a custom project for a client who needs a love song for his wife as a Christmas gift this year. Hard to do. A love song for a wife is a very personal thing...and being a third party writing that? Not the easiest task I've had for sure. I'm in "tweak" mode right now and trying to adjust a couple of lines that might suit them and the song better. Here's hoping the "tweaks" will do the job. It's been an interesting creative challenge.
I also spent some time booking recording studios as I've got a couple things that need to be recorded...including the project I mentioned. That's always fun…trying to pick the right studio...singer...and musicians that will make the songs really "pop".
NEW SONG And I got one of those musical treats in my inbox that I get every now and then. Victoria Venier who is one third of our "Hits & Grins" trio is also a duo partner with the very talented Tabitha Fair who's been all over the world doing background vocal with the likes of Sting and other superstars. They recorded a song that I'm a co-writer on with Victoria and the third member of our "Hits & Grins" trio Steve Dean called "In Memphis" that we wrote in the car one trip to Little Rock. We were stuck on bridge in Memphis...I-40 traffic sitting still looking at the world's largest Bass Pro outside the right window and downtown Memphis out the drivers side window. Victoria gets so bored she says, "lets write something"! Steve grabs a mandolin and it's on like Donkey Kong.
And yea...we wrote about "Memphis". None of us had any idea how great this song was going to be. But...we sang it "live" that very night in Little Rock for the very first time and it got a huge response. Bout then I thought to myself..."we might be on to something here.
Anyway...the version TNT just recorded for their first album includes a full horn section and the song truly rocks. So thanks goes to Victoria and Tabitha...thanks for the early Christmas gift.
HANDYMAN TIP My wife also knows I suck completely as a handyman. I'm good at opening peanut butter jars and reaching for things on high shelves for her...killing spiders and not much else. This tip did at least draw my attention. If you believe what you read...then you can clean copper with ketchup. Uh huh. I don't eat ketchup or clean copper...but I thought you should know.
I was given one cool tip that works. If you play music off your phone and want to increase the volume? Stick it in a ceramic cup. Sort of like singing in a bathroom...it enhances the sound. Try it.
TODAY Off to write with two buddies today Paul Bogart who just got to sing for Randy Travis at our Wax Museum at Opry Mills. I ask Paul which one he sang to...the real Randy or the wax Randy that is now one of the figures at our Madame Tussaud attraction here. Paul said, "both". Quite an honor that my buddy got to sing a Randy Travis song to Randy and his wife as he was on hand for the unveiling of his wax figure.
Our mutual friend Gerald Smith will also join the two of us on Music Row today as we dig into something good and country. Should be fun.
Have a great Monday!
BILL BLOG Monday December 4, 2017
You got all your Christmas shopping done this weekend right? Me neither.
FULL WEEKEND I got out and caught a songwriter set from these two co-writer friends of mine Friday night...Ayla Brown and Rob Bellamy. The two of them were very fun to see and hear...and they included a tune the three of us co-wrote recently so that was a nice bonus for going to cheer them on for sure. Ayla played college basketball at Boston College...Rob played hockey for Maine and then minor league hockey for several years but I did not know until this weekend that Rob's sister is on the Team USA Women's hockey team headed for South Korea. And to top off that good news...Rob and Ayla will head there to sing at the Olympics come February. Good for them. I've instructed them to go across the border and try to talk some sense into Kim Jong Dumb. We'll see.
ROAD DATE I'm adding another date to my 2018 calendar as I'll return to Jacksonville, Florida to teach a songwriting class and then play a show that same evening. The date is Saturday June 23rd. Check my calendar for dates and info on how to sign up for the class and get tickets for the show. Looking forward to being back in that beautiful city.
A LOVE SONG I also spent some time writing a love song about another guy's wife. I mentioned last week that someone had reached out to me about doing so and he hired me to write this as a present for his wife of 30 years. I had him send me a bunch of personal info about her and the two of them and hopefully it will be something he and she both love. In the note he talked about neither of them having much when they started...poor. But together they've built a very successful company...raised some great kids and the are still in love an each other's best friend.
It's been fun writing this and reading his and her story did make me smile and think back to my raising in Missouri. I never thought about not having a lot growing up...pretty sure my two brothers and sisters felt the same. Seems like we had more than everything we needed. But I do remember thinking it was odd that we never ate in the school cafeteria...not once for me. We packed a lunch. There were a few Spam sandwiches in the bottom of my paper sack that I remember leaving a stain on the bottom. I didn't figure out til later that we didn't eat in the cafeteria with most of the other kids because my Mom and Dad couldn't afford to pay that fee for five kids. I get it now. And I get how hard they worked to give us what we needed and instilled a work ethic in all of us that allowed us to work for what we wanted. Wouldn't change it.
CHRISTMAS PARADES The Nashville Christmas parade was this past weekend. Warm weather...no problems. But all I can remember is being in the Christmas parades every year when I was in Milwaukee. Like in Wisconsin. Like in...where it can get really COLD. At night! Sitting in a convertible for crying out loud. Who's idea was that? And folks bundled up and stood on sidewalks to wave at folks they barely knew for the most part. I'm waving as hard as I can...not so much to acknowledge those watching...but to keep it moving so it wouldn't lock up and FREEZE on me!
I do remember though walking over to the State Fair Bar in West Allis on one particular really cold parade day to keep warm before I had to climb into a convertible. I witnessed Santa and three Wise Men drinking shots in that blue collar bar. True. And there was a camel tied up to a lamp post just outside. It was like being thrown into a David Lynch movie...and it still makes me smile to this day.
TODAY A bunch of writing to take care of today and planning for some studio time. It's the last day of sun and 60's for awhile...so hopefully I'll find a little time to get out and enjoy that too.
Have a great Monday!
BILL BLOG Friday December 1, 2017
Tad cooler this first day of December with the high of just 50 today.
YESTERDAY Quite the change in one day for temperature readings. Yesterday it was in the mid-60's or so...warm enough to go for a walk and get my ducks in a row as you can see here. The ducks apparently were holding some sort of convention...and they were oblivious to me walking laps around them. Tough life being a danged duck.
LAST NIGHT That was all about our "Hits & Grins" show that took place at the all new Listening Room Cafe. Now located on 4th Avenue...it took me way too long to find it deals. My GPS kept telling me "you've arrived" and I could not see the building to save me. A normal 30 minute drive turned into almost an hour last night as I finally realized lapping the city it was right in front of me. The new building still has an old "International Harvester" sign on the top...and I could not see "Listening Room" on the side of the building. That meant I walked in 5 minutes before show-time. Sigh.
But... a quick sound check for guitar and vocal and we were up and running. And it turned out to be a great show in a great new Listening Room. Tourists...lots of tourists. Indiana and Ohio were in the house...states where I've worked radio...and so were a lot of other states. And those folks were into the show BIG time last night. Really a great responsive crowd for sure. Thanks to all who came...and for those of you who bought our CD's....hope you enjoy them on your ride back home.
JIM NABORS Gomer Pyle passed. What a nice man. Being on the radio allows one to meet a lot of celebrities. And I did interview and meet Mr. Nabors once. I stood right next to him one time at a pre-Indy 500 celebration they call Carburetion Day. I was working for WFMS in Indianapolis at the time and was sent out to emcee or something at the Brickyard and found myself on stage with a bunch of dignitaries and celebs like Jim Nabors who I stood next too. My memory is how down to earth non pretentious the man was. Easy to talk to. Jim was at the Indy every year to sing the iconic state song for the Hoosier state..."My Home's In Indiana". And man could he sing it. From the "golleee" voices we hear from Gomer...to his resonate booming baritone when he sang. It was a moment every year at that track that Hoosiers cherished. RIP Mr. Nabors.
TODAY I'm off to write with my friend Ayla Brown and her boyfriend Robby. He's a hockey player...she was a basketball player in college. I can tel Rob has not played hockey for awhile now because he has no teeth missing...and Ayla has no hamstring problems that I know of. Both of them are talented singer-songwriters and both of them showed up for our "Hits & Grins" show last night which was awesome. So...we'll get together and write this morning and then I'm going to return their favor and go out and hear them play a 2 hour set later this evening in Nashville. That will be enjoyable.
THIS WEEKEND? Did I mention Christmas parties are going on? Got one to go to...and...I'll be glued to see which 4 college football teams are going to land in the BCS playoffs. Go Badgers.
Have a great weekend.
BILL BLOG Thursday November 30, 2017
Last day of November...seriously.
With only a small amount of work to do writing wise...Wednesday was a day of catch up...which I need to do more of it seems all the time. And it is funny sometimes how what's going on in my life relates directly to the kind of songs I write. For instance…
My wife and I strung some lights on the Christmas tree yesterday and we'll wait for my daughter Heather to get home from wherever she's flying to with her American Airlines job right now. The syndication company I write country song parodies for are in full blow "Christmas" mode right now so yesterday I suggested we use the current Luke Bryan hit "Light Em' Up" for a Griswold kind of Christmas disaster song. And then last night almost by accident I caught the end of the National Lampoon Christmas movie with Chevy Chase playing Clark Griswold. Somehow stuff ties together some days.
I also spent some time learning a Christmas song I wrote with new Hall of Famer Jim McBride a couple years ago titled "Blue Light Christmas" which is very Griswold in nature too. In the song...someone is always getting arrested from this family every Christmas. And then it's "ho ho ho from the po po pokey". With any luck...I'll be able to play this Christmas ditty tonight for a 6 pm show with "Hits & Grins" at the all new Listening Room in downtown Nashville. We'll see. GETTING A SHOT OR NOT? More reports saying it's going to be a really bad flu season. Is that true or are they trying to scare us enough to go get a flu shot? I'm debating myself...always have in the past but like you I hear reports of folks who got sick BECAUSE they got the flu shot. I think more folks would get one if it was more convenient. Like...why can't they teach the kids working the drive thru at McDonald's to say "want fries or a flu sho wih that"? Roll up your sleeve...grab your bag of McNuggets...and a McFlu shot all at the same time.
DUMB CRIME So...a guy in Traverse City, Michigan comes home and goes the bathroom. He notices the lid on the toilet is closed. He doesn't remember putting it down (real guy) so he calls police. They find a guy passed out in his garage...on drugs. So maybe being on drugs is the key to getting more of us guys to remember to put the lid down.
TODAY It's all about the show with "Hits & Grins" tonight. It's our first time in the NEW Listening Room and I hear nothing but good things. It's always fun to play music with Victoria Venier and Steve Dean...fun. If you're near...please come grab some of the fun with us.
Have a great Thursday!
BILL BLOG Wednesday November 29, 2017
Another spring like day here in Nashville. Meanwhile there's a snow "white out" in Hawaii. I tend to forget that the elevation at the top of the Big Island is like 9,200 feet. I do know that long underwear under a grass skirt is not a great look.
YESTERDAY I had great fun joining my friend Gerald Smith to write at his publishing company. Gerald had just been to down Orange Beach in Alabama for the same songwriter festival I'd been to...and on the way down sang a "beach song" idea with a melody into his phone that was very fun...so we wrote that idea. It's always easier for me to write when there's a good idea on the table...and that's certainly what happened here. You don't hear the word "orange" in songs for a good reason. There is no rhyme for the word "orange". So we made sure the line never wound up at the end of any line so we wouldn't have to worry about it. It was just a very fun time hanging and rhyming with someone who's done this for a very long time.
WRITING STUFF It's an interesting process...writing original songs...poems...books...etc. And sometimes you write towards things you would have never thought of tackling. I've written commercial jingles, had a couple songs used in small independent movies, written "sports" related song...ESPN used one of those a long time ago...and I like not knowing what the writing day will bring.
Case in point...I got an e-mail from someone who wants to know if I will write and record a song about his wife for a gift. A mutual friend of ours suggested me to him. I've never done that before but I'm game for anything. All I know is it will be an interesting process...getting to know his wife that way...and then trying to write something that she and he will both love. I'm thinking songs I've written like "Trailer Park Sexy" and "If I Had Boobs" is not going to work for this. But I'll let ya know how it turns out when it's done.
AWARD TIME The Grammy nominations came out yesterday. Congrats to all. Country artists were largely overlooked this time around without one being nominated in any of the big "all genre" categories. It happens. The country name that pops up the most looks to be Chris Stapleton who's been on a major role ever since that moment he and Justin Timberlake destroyed this George Jones classic that Dean Dillon penned. We'll find out who the trophies go to January 28 on CBS. This award is voted by your peers...and is the most coveted award any musician, singer, writer can receive. Which is why I'm still so humbled after being a small part of a Grammy winner last year.
CHRISTMAS WARNING Keep this statistic in mind for Christmas...said Scrooge. Last year 9 million packages were stolen for doorsteps. Uh huh. And with Amazon products arriving daily there may be room for some kind of invention that UPS and Fed Ex can use to insure that the package can't get stolen. I'll be looking for someone to pitch that on Shark Tank soon. HEADLINE OF THE DAY "Police In Australia Looking For Four Men Who Walked Into A McDonald's Naked". Gives a whole new alarming thought about "McNuggets"...at least for me.
TODAY Nothing special today. Catching up on stuff...trimming a tree...and trying to figure out if I can write anything decent about another man's wife. We'll see
Have a great Wednesday!